Pioneers pound Poca for another runaway victory
WAYNE -- Dwight Blankenship and his fellow starters for Wayne have had limited opportunities throughout the football season.
Perhaps the biggest reason is they've made the most of what's been put in front of them.
Blankenship had a 53-yard interception return and senior running back Brandon Spurlock ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries Friday as the Class AA No. 1 Pioneers rolled past visiting Poca, 56-22.
It was the fifth straight year No. 1 Wayne (8-0) has surpassed the 50 point mark against the Dots. The Pioneers had a 43-7 halftime edge.
"With a lot of (the starters) you hold your breath when you're up 50 points you don't want to get anybody hurt, but we've also got the responsibility of making our team as good as we can," Wayne coach Tom Harmon said. "We walk that tight wire at times."
The Pioneers scored 21 quick points in the first quarter before delivering the knockout blow in the second quarter. Poca quarterback Jacob Payne rolled to his left and tried to throw back across the field when Blankenship, a 6-foot, 230-pound senior, jumped in front of the intended receiver and outran everyone 53-yards for a touchdown.
"He's a warrior in the weightroom, a warrior out on the field, he goes hard every play," Harmon said of Blankenship. "You can't say enough about guys who have put that time and energy into it, you like to see them do well. He's a big kid but he runs well."
Blankenship, known better as "Bubba" in the hallways at Wayne, said he just read the play correctly.
"They'd been running screen passes all night, so it was pretty obvious when he rolled out," Blankenship said. "I just sat down and waited for my opportunity and just sprung on it."
The bulky senior, who might be Wayne's emotional leader on the field, said taking hard work and letting it shine was rewarding.
"It's awesome. I love it. The hard work has paid off for sure," he said. "I've put in the time and it's paying off now."
Mason Hodge scored on both of his touches, a 15-yard run and a 55-yarder, in a 546-yard total offense performance by the Pioneers.
Thomas Loudin ran for 213 yards in the loss for Poca (2-6), 205 of which came against the Wayne reserves.
Wayne, which stands as the lone unbeaten left in AA, extended its winning streak to a state best 17 games. The Pioneers play at Chapmanville next week.
POCA 0 7 8 7 -- 22
WAYNE 21 22 13 0 -- 56
W -- B.. Spurlock 40 run (Stamper kick)
W -- Hodge 15 run (Stamper kick)
W -- B. Spurlock 9 run (Stamper kick)
W -- Blankenship 53 interception return (Pyles pass from Ferguson)
W -- Hodge 55 run (Stamper kick)
P -- Loudin 58 run (Bailey kick)
W -- B. Spurlock 22 run (Stamper kick)
W -- Ferguson 4 run (Stamper kick)
W -- Fry 6 run (kneel down)
P -- Bailey 2 run (Bailey pass from Payne)
P -- Loudin 55 run (Bailey kick)
First Downs 16 22
Rushing-yards 44-263 44-444
Passing 6-15-1 6-12-0
Passing yards 50 102
Total offense 313 546
Fumbles-lost 6-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 1-5 13-92
Punts 3-27.3 0-0.0
RUSHING -- Poca: Loudin 18-213, Payne 16-30, Bailey 8-29, Team 2-(-9). Wayne: B. Spurlock 9-201, Hodge 2-70, Egnor 2-18, Ferguson 2-7, N. Spurlock 1-4, Fry 9-30, S. Perry 5-40, Langdon-Arthur 1-1, Darby 2-22, Queen 4-6, Adkins 1-12, M. Perry 1-17, Tomblin 1-21, Stiltner 2-(-3), Team 2-(-2).
PASSING -- Poca: Payne 6-15-1, 50 yards. Wayne: Ferguson 6-12-0, 102 yards.
RECEIVING -- Poca: Loudin 3-16, Gibson 2-29, Stover 1-5. Wayne: Pyles 1-33, Hodge 1-11, Langdon-Arthur 2-25, Blankenship 2-33.